Cooper Endeavor Plus vs Michelin Defender 2

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Cooper’s reliable Endeavor Plus meets Michelin’s Defender 2, a tire designed for longevity and dependable all-season performance. Both are strong choices for those looking for durability and consistent handling.

Cooper Endeavor Plus
Cooper Endeavor Plus is a popular choice among CUV users.

Being a tire engineer, I can tell you that the Michelin Defender 2 shines in dry performance, tread life, and fuel efficiency. In contrast, the Cooper Endeavor Plus stands out in wet and snowy terrains and provides a smoother ride but falls short in noise insulation.

Sizes Facts

The Michelin Defender 2 comes in 16 to 20″ inches rims, having following specs.

  • Speed ratings: H (on all)
  • Load ratings: SL and XL
  • Tread depth range: 10.5/32″ (on all)
  • Weight range: 25 to 32 lbs
  • Winter ratings: Only M+S no 3PMSFR.
  • Tread mileage rating: 85k miles.
  • UTQG rating: 800 A A.

On the other side, the Cooper Endeavor Plus comes in 16 to 22 inches wheels, and they come with the following specifications.

  • Speed ratings: T, H and V.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth range: 10.5 to 12.5/32″.
  • Weight range: 22 to 42 lbs.
  • Winter ratings: Only M+S no 3PMSFR.
  • Treadwear warranty: 65k miles.
  • UTQG rating: 680 AA.

Construction Comparison

Let’s start with the Endeavor Plus, which comes with a symmetric tread pattern.

Cooper Endeavor Plus
Cooper Endeavor+ clearly features more biters in comparison.

So the whole structure is comprised of 5 total ribs.

Here, the 3 central ribs form 4 circumferential channels interconnected with each other by interlocking lateral grooves.

These lateral voids, basically provide this tire with superior hydroplaning resistance along with greater biting efficacy, especially on snowy terrains.

Moreover, these ribs have interlocking siping too, helping the tire with wet traction, and having reinforced foundations underneath (all lugs), you also get impressive grip on dry asphalts.

The shoulder lugs are slightly different.

They carry more linear siping pattern, where all lugs are joined to each other by another adjacent rib running along, towards first circumferential channel.

Speaking of internal construction, the tire comes with 2 ply polyester casing, with 2 steel belts, and a 2 ply nylon cap plies on the very top.

Basically this is the typical type of construction, you see on most of the highway terrain all season tires out there.

The Michelin Defender 2 on the other side, also features a symmetric pattern, though its more streamlined.

Michelin Defender 2
Defender 2’s tread features a rounded contact patch.

I mean if you compare its shoulder lugs with its competitor, you’d note how minimal they are.

See how they are only composed of lateral grooves, and a mere interlocking siping structure.

This is unlike the central 3 ribs (which form 4 longitudinal channels).

I mean they are more saturated with (similar) siping.

Here the central most rib is continuous running, while the adjacent ribs although have wave-like lateral voids, they are still not as spaced apart, if you compare them with the Endeavor.

Internally, the tire features only a single ply polyester casing with 2 steel belts, and a single ply nylon cap ply.

Highway Performance

When it comes to dry performance, the tire’s overall traction combined with its steering is judged.

Let’s talk about them both.

Dry Traction

Dry traction encompasses both grip and handling. Grip is primarily assessed by examining braking distances, while handling is evaluated through lateral g forces.

Now here, the Michelin Defender 2 excels in both areas.

For directional grip, it features more densely packed central lugs, and a rounded contact patch, facilitating superior road grip.

Basically more of its central rubber comes in contact with the ground as its ribs aren’t broken up laterally, unlike its counterpart.

Similarly the tire also features more packed up shoulders, with smaller voids in between and less tread features eating away the rubber, so you also get better sideways traction too, (as seen by its lateral g forces on tests).

On the flip side, the Cooper Endeavor Plus, although lacking slightly, still offers an impressive central rubber contact with the road due to its near-continuous middle rib, augmented by foundational supports underneath.

Though its shoulder grooves are much more voided up, so can’t say the same about its lateral grip.

I mean even though Cooper’s directional grip is still close enough to Defender, its lateral grip clearly needs improvement.

Steering Response

Simply having superior traction doesn’t provide a complete understanding of a tire’s overall performance, and that’s where steering and responsiveness come into play.

Now steering or cornering is divided in to 3 main sections.

  • Cornering Entry: Here, the efficiency of a tire is gauged by its ability to decelerate rapidly, highlighting its braking efficacy.
  • Mid-corner: In this phase, it’s crucial to maintain grip. Tires with optimal responsiveness allow drivers to feel the road better, ensuring a more balanced performance between understeering and oversteering. This connection between the driver and the tire aids in preventing unwanted slippage.
  • Exit: As the tire completes the turn and prepares to straighten out, effective communication is again important. Otherwise, if the tire’s are still somewhat cornering and you accelerate, there’s a risk of slippage and loss of traction.

Now, here, with better overall steering communication properties, the Michelin Defender 2 takes the lead in overall handling as seen by its faster lap times on average.

Wet Traction

When it comes to wet traction, sipes are pretty important.

These although may seem as mere slits on the tread, they draw out air, as the tire meets the ground, and create a suction for water particles coming underneath. And once the tire rolls over, that soaked up water is sprayed out.

So if sipes are allowed to flex properly, they “effectively” create a relatively drier road contact patch, for the (tread) rubber to grip on.

That’s why even though here the Michelin Defender 2 offers interlocking sipes throughout the tread, (which are supposed to help with better control while driving), it still lacks mainly because of its harder rubber compound.

Meaning, is stiffer rubber isn’t allowing its sipes to breath water particles (in and out), as effectively, hurting its overall wet traction.

This is unlike the Cooper Endeavor Plus, which allows its sipes to flex more easily, as the tire’s overall tread is relatively softer.

Moreover, since the tire is more voided up in comparison, it also offers superior resistance to hydroplaning, which is actually clearing of water through grooves.

So with more water being cleared off through Cooper’s grooves, there’s also less burden on sipes to begin with, and that also helps with the tire’s overall wet performance.

Whereas Defender 2 with unbroken longitudinal ribs can’t do the same, meaning with missing lateral voids, water isn’t dispersed off effectively, especially through sideways.

Winter Performance

For optimal winter traction, all season tires often incorporate some features from dedicated winter tires. This includes a softer rubber compound that stays flexible in cold temperatures, sipes for grip on icy surfaces, and notches and grooves designed to trap snow.

Trapping snow basically allow for better snow-on-snow traction, as snow grips better to itself than to rubber.

Now considering all factors, the Cooper Endeavor Plus is doing better, even though it also doesn’t carry the 3 peak mountain snowflake rating like its competitor here.

So what’s making this tire better?

Well, it features more effective interlocking sipes and zigzag in-groove notches, (which are also greater in number), which basically provide a more optimal snow to snow contact.

Whereas the Michelin Defender 2, again lacks with its stiffer rubber compound. Meaning, its sipes are susceptible to getting stiffen up with freezing temperatures.

Moreover, there aren’t as many biters on this tire compared to Cooper, to begin with.

Tread Life

When it comes to tread life, there are 3 main factors to consider.

  • Tread depth.
  • Compound composition.
  • Overall construction weight.

And in all, the Michelin Defender 2 excels.

The tire features a more durable compound that resists rapid wear. And its single ply polyester casing puts less weight pressure on its lugs as they rub against the road, further enhancing its resistance to wear.

And yes, this is further helped by the tire’s rounded contact patch, and Michelin’s Max Touch technology. These basically ensures the overall weight on the tire is more evenly divided up.

On the other side, although the Cooper Endeavor Plus gives you more tread depth (which should mean it should take longer to reach down to 2/32″ legal wear limit), it still lacks.

And that’s simply because the tire has a relatively softer rubber compound.

For Your Info: Michelin Defender 2 offers 24k more miles compared to its predecessor the Defender T+H (comparison review), so it makes sense why you get a whopping 85k miles warranty with it.

Overall Comfort Performance

Overall comfort a tire brings depends on two dimensions. How well it dampens:

  • Road noise.
  • And road vibrations.

Let’s check out both.

On Road Vibrations

So when it comes to on-road comfort, there are 2 main variables to consider.

  • How well the tire settles the road imperfections.
  • How much stability it offers while maneuvering.

And that’s why we have some mixed results here.

I mean in terms of overall stability, hands down, the Michelin Defender 2 offers better results. Check out the steering response section, where I discussed it thoroughly.

Though in terms of “bumps absorption” abilities, the Cooper Endeavor Plus is doing a better job.

This has to do with 2 things. One, it features softer construction, so it soaks up bumps better.

And two, it features greater tread depth going up to 12/32″. This is significant, because more rubber is there, and that means there’s more room for road imperfections to settle down before reaching the vehicles cabin.

Noise Generation

When assessing tire noise, it’s essential to understand that it originates primarily from air molecules colliding with the tire’s tread walls, with most of this air entering through shoulder voids.

Now the Michelin Defender 2 effectively counteract this, as it features connectors or ridges between its shoulder lugs, substantially reducing the amount of air entering the tread.

Moreover, the tire also features superior pitch technology, where air particles hitting different tread areas creates varying tones, so they are not allowed to be amplified.

On the other side, the Cooper Endeavor Plus with a more voided up structure lacks, even though the tire features a dedicated rib, acting as whisper grooves, as Cooper likes to call it.

I mean this rib prevents air particles entering in, but with an overall more voided up design and greater tread depth, there’s just a lot more relative room for air particles to collide around, producing more noise, in case of Cooper’s tire.

Fuel Efficiency

Fuel consumption is influenced by various factors including rolling resistance, speed/load ratings, tread depth, the weight of the tire, and its overall structure.

And considering all these variables, it can be explained why the Michelin Defender 2 comes out with better miles per gallons.

The tire stands out due to its lightweight design and streamlined longitudinal ribs, making it one of the most fuel-efficient tires in its category.

A lighter construction means there’s less stress on the lugs, and that combined with its ribs, less energy goes into flexing the lugs, and more into the tire’s actual rolling, improving fuel efficiency.

On the other side, the Cooper Endeavor+ with heavier construction, does the opposite.

Take Home Points

After a detailed comparison, here’s a concise summary of the strengths and weaknesses.

The Michelin Defender 2 excels in dry performance, tread life, fuel efficiency, and noise reduction due to its dense lug design and harder compound.

Conversely, the Cooper Endeavor Plus offers better traction in wet and snowy terrains, with its flexible sipes and effective notches, and ensures a smoother ride, but it doesn’t match up in terms of noise insulation and fuel efficiency.

So your choice will ultimately depend on your specific driving conditions and preferences, of course.

1 thought on “Cooper Endeavor Plus vs Michelin Defender 2”

  1. Thank you, this was an excellent and informative comparison. I would be going with Defender because I need my tires to last real long.


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